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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



21 June 2018

On Saturday 16th June, Cadets from Ballygowan Detachment, F Company 2nd (NI) Battalion ACF took part in a World War One themed Expedition as part of their fundraising efforts to commemorate this the Centenary year of the ending of the First World War.

The day started for the Cadets at the brilliant Somme Heritage Centre in Newtownards where the group received a great tour of the museum and the replica trench system within it.  From the museum it was time to put the walking boots on as the group set off to conduct their sponsored walk.  Covering a distance of 8 miles the Cadets departed the Somme Centre and moved up through Clandeboye Wood - the location where the 36th Ulster Division trained prior to going to the Somme.

On the way they stopped at the impressive Helens Tower.  The Ulster Tower on the Somme in France is a perfect replica of this is as tribute to the men of the 36th Division as for many of them this would have been the last landmark they would have seen of home before going off to war in France.

The group carried on along the Clandeboye way eventually arriving at Grey Point Fort in Helens Bay which is another significant First World War connection.  The fort was constructed 1907 and during the war the Gun Battery would defend Belfast lough and its important shipyards from German attack.

Thankfully despite some very heavy showers earlier in the day the weather played ball and the group managed to escape all the rain forecast to enjoy a well-deserved BBQ at the end of their travels.  It was very much mission accomplished as the Cadets have so far raised an amazing £800.00 so far towards their Centenary project.

The Detachment will be purchasing one of the Tommy Figures that have recently been seen at famous landmarks around the UK from the There But Not There foundation.  The money raised through the cost of the figures go towards supporting a range of charities supporting veterans both past and present including Walking with the Wounded, Combat Stress, Veterans Housing Schemes and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

"Tommy" when the Cadets get him, will be going on a walk of his own as the Cadets plan to deploy him out into the Community that the Detachment recruits from to help spread the importance of Remembrance in this special Centenary year and in particular plan to place him prominently in their home village of Ballygowan in the run up to this year’s Remembrance Period.